A former soldier whose military ring was stolen in 2007 was recently reunited with his cherished keepsake — thanks to the power of Good Samaritans, Facebook and 401,000 "shares." What’s more, the ring – which was badly damaged after being buried in the ground for years – was completely refurbished by the manufacturer at no charge to the serviceman.
Patrick J. Dierickx of Kalispell, Mont., had received his ring after completing basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., but less than a year later the ring was stolen in Marshall, Minn.
Eight years would go by before farmer Bob Farris would dig up the ring near the foundation of an old granary near Watertown, S.D., one state over and nearly 80 miles from where it was last seen.
Bob asked his granddaughter, Rachel Farris, to use Facebook to try to get the message out that a military ring with the name "Patrick J. Dierickx" had been recovered.
Farris took on the assignment and posted a message with some photos of the beaten-up ring.
"OK Facebook world, I need some help," she wrote. "My grandpa found a United States Army service ring buried in the dirt at his farm in South Dakota. The name on the ring is Patrick J Dierickx. It's a very old ring and he would like to find the owner or at least the family to return it to. Please share this post so we can try to find the rightful owner or family member."
Her plea struck a cord with Facebook users all over the country. The original post was made on June 11. By June 19, it had been shared more than 401,000 times, resulting in a connection with the original owner.
"I never dreamed that I would see the ring again," said Dierickx. "The years went by, and while I thought about it from time to time, I knew I just had to let it go. I can't thank Bob Farris enough. A keen eye, a bit of luck, and a kind heart can go a long way. Like the inscription on the ring says, 'In God We Trust.'"
Once reunited with his ring, Dierickx visited local jeweler Murphy McMahon to see if the ring, which had been buried for years, could be repaired and refurbished.
McMahon sent the ring to the original manufacturer, Austin, Texas-based Balfour, and within a short time the keepsake was resurrected. The ring, which features a blue center stone as well as military and spiritual slogans and symbols, was returned to Dierickx looking as good as new — and at no charge.
Dierickx turned to Facebook to thank all the people who helped him reconnect with his ring. He wrote, "Thanks for the help everyone! I originally got the ring in 2006, at Fort Jackson SC, right out of basic training. A year later it was stolen. Eight years later it's found in the dirt, a state over, by a very kindhearted farmer. Please share so people know this incredible story."
Credit: Facebook/Rachel Farris; Facebook/Patrick Dierickx; Patrick Dierickx.